Tanya is a Tier II Canada Research Chair in Physical Activity Promotion whose research interests are in physical activity messaging. She examines this issue from multiple perspectives.
- Her main focus is to study the roles of both conscious and automatic cognitive processing of messages about physical activity (PA) and diet, with the long-term goal of understanding how best to facilitate positive health behaviours. This is an important and innovative program because traditional approaches to changing health behaviours assume that individuals are motivated to think about the consequences of their actions (i.e., makes decisions based upon reflection). However, such approaches have been largely ineffective. Consequently, it is argued that health interventions could be improved by targeting automatic decision-making systems in addition to reflective systems. The two main objectives of her research program are: 1. To further understanding of how health messages are processed at both automatic and conscious levels and how this may subsequently influence behavior. 2. To examine the role of implicit cognitive processes within behaviour change interventions with the aim of improving the efficacy of such behaviour change efforts.
Her research has been funded by the Alberta Heritage Foundation for Medical Research (AHFMR), Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC), the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada (HSFC) and the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) .